the Legacy continues…………………….
Gregory R. Mann, Ph.D. {ret.}

Beaked Sea Snake

“Enhydrina schistosa”

The Beaked Sea Snake is also known as Hook-nosed & Valakadyn Sea Snake. It is considered as one of the most venomous marine in the world. Their venom is extremely strong and can cause death to human. Beaked Sea Snakes live in shallow waters with muddy or sandy bottoms that are found over mud flats in estuaries and at river mouths. You can see a Beaked Sea Snake in Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Indian Ocean and western Pacific Ocean as far as Australia & Papua New Guinea. The Beaked Sea Snake gets its common name from the distinctive down-turned, beak-like projection on the snout at the front of the upper jaw. Beaked Sea Snakes can adapt to live at sea. They have a flattened, paddle-like tail for swimming. Valved nostrils is used when they are being under the sea. All sea snakes lack the expanded belly scales that most other snakes use for moving on land. The body of the Beaked Sea Snake is quite stout and vertically flattened with a relatively small head. The adult is dull olive-green or greenish-gray above and whitish below, with dark cross-bands that tend to fuse together towards the tail. The cross-bands are widest on the upper-side, tapering to points on the flanks and usually disappear in older adults, which are a more uniform bluish-gray color. Beaked Sea Snakes feed mainly on fish or squid species. They will know their prey by detecting movement therefore, they can hunt in low-visibility waters. After releasing their venom to their prey, they will swallow their prey by head first.

Sea snakes are among the most venomous of the world’s snakes and Beaked Sea Snake is one of the most dangerous. Most sea snakes rarely bite and often do not inject much venom when they do but the Beaked Sea Snake is more aggressive than most. Only about 1.5 milligrams of its venom is enough to kill a human, with a full dose estimated to be enough to kill 22 people. Most fatalities from Beaked Sea Snake bites occur where it often comes into contact with humans, such as in shallow estuaries. The Beaked Sea Snake mates in September & October and breeding is likely to be annual. Females give birth to relatively large, live young and this species produces the largest litter of any sea snake, giving birth to an average of 18 young but sometimes up to 30 or more. Mortality of young Beaked Sea Snakes is likely to be high, but those that survive grow rapidly. Maturity is reached at around 18 months, the female usually giving birth to the first clutch of young at around 24 months. All sea snakes are ovoviviparous meaning the development of eggs that remain within the mothers body until they hatch or are about to hatch. The young are born alive in the water where they live out their entire life cycle. In some species, the young are quite large, sometimes up to half as long as their mother. The venom of the Beaked Sea Snake is rated 4 to 8 times as toxic as Cobra venom. About 1.5 milligrams of its venom is estimated to be lethal. Most of the deaths from Beaked Sea Snake bites occur among fishermen in southeast Asia, where access to anti-venom is scanty or nonexistent and where the snakes are trapped by some groups for their skins. If you get a live one in your net and it hasn’t wasted all of its venom chewing through the rope, a single fully loaded bite could kill 52 grown men.

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